May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized
Opinions are divided over whether the Golden Lions needed to better the 124 points difference to oust the Leopards or whether a simple 4-try bonus point would have been enough but, be it as it may, the Lions scraped into the Vodacom Cup quarter finals after playing a young team in the early part of the competition while the senior players focused on a fast disintegrating Lions Challenge.
With the matches against French clubs Agen and Montpellier as well as the match against the French Barbarians cancelled the Golden Lions senior players are now available for the remaining Vodacom Cup matches and the Lions will hope to progress past Friday’s quarter final match.
The Golden Lions travel to Durban to take on a strong Sharks XV side that has lost only one of their league matches, against the EP Kings two weeks ago.
The Lions match squad has an unfamiliar look to it due to the players lent to the Sharks recently and the injury to Franco Mostert in a car accident over the weekend. At fullback Chryzander Botha is the third fullback in as many weeks as coach Johann Ackerman looks for a replacement for the injured Andries Coetzee while Hugo Kloppers slots into Mostert’s place at lock with JJ Breet as cover on the bench. For the rest the Lions are fielding all the familiar faces with Warren Whiteley taking over the captaincy from JC Janse van Rensburg, who joined the Sharks down under.
The Sharks also have their problems, especially due to injuries in their Super Rugby squad, and they will have to do without props Danie Mienie and Allan Dell, loosie Lubabalo Mtembu, scrumhalf Tian Meyer as well as wingers Sibusiso Sithole and Sean Robinson.
However, the Sharks still have enough talent in the squad to be dangerous with Springbok Willem Alberts getting back to match fitness after his injury, Ryan Kankowski joining the team and youngsters like Hanco Venter, Tyler Fisher, Fred Zeilinga and Gouws Prinsloo playing under the captaincy of Marius Joubert.
To be honest, it is very difficult to really compare the sides as they played in different sections during the league phases and have faced neither each other nor the same opponents. The only way to compare is to look at the experience in both teams.
Sharks: 795 (495 between Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski and Marius Jonker)
Super Rugby caps:
Sharks: 224 (4 players)
Lions: 143 (12 players)
Sharks: 70 (3 players)
Past SA u/20 players:
Players over 23:
Players under 21:
Looking at these figures the Lions obviously have the more experienced side, both in term of age as well as in terms of number of players with first class experience, but whether that will translate into victory remains to be seen, considering the match is played in Durban, and Durbs has not been a happy hunting ground for Lions teams in the past.
In recent weeks the Sharks XV lost to the EP Kings, were played close by the SWD Eagles, the Free State XV and WP while the Golden Lions, since involving their senior players, have beaten both Griquas and the Pumas comfortably, which also may indicate that the Golden Lions is the stronger side, considering the opposition played. However, since these losses Alberts and Kanko joined the Sharks XV, strengthening the side considerably.
It is important, however, for the Lions to come away with a victory, not only to show that their preparation for the Super Rugby play-offs is on track but also to stay in the Vodacom Cup to get more game time before the play-offs. The lack of quality opposition during the run in to the play-offs, especially if the remaining French matches that were scheduled for July are cancelled as rumoured, means that the final stages of the Vodacom Cup have taken on a greater importance.
Given the relative inexperience of most of the Sharks team and the fact that they have had close battles with traditionally weaker sides I think the Lions have the advantage going into the match and should come away with a win.
Lions by 9.
The Sharks XV: 15. Jaco van Tonder, 14. Kotaro Matsushima, 13. Marius Joubert (Capt), 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Sizo Maseko, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Hanco Venter, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Peet Marais, 4. Jandre Marais, 3. Nicolaas van Dyk, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Robbie Harris
Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Simon Kerrod, 18. Francois Kleinhans, 19. Khaya Majola, 20. Stefan Ungerer, 21. Tyler Fisher, 22. Gouws Prinsloo
Golden Lions: 15 Chryzander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Reserwes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 JJ Breet, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Lionel Cronjé.
Friday, May 03 2013
19:10 – Pumas vs Pampas: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
The Pumas have a strong squad of journeymen combined with youngsters that couldn’t quite make their provincial squads in the past, players like Rosko Specman, Renaldo Bothma and Jerome Pretorius, while the Pampas aren’t quite at the same standard of a few years ago when they won the Vodacom Cup.
PUMAS to beat Pampas XV by 15
Saturday, May 04 2013
15:30 – WP vs Griquas: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
The Griquas with a squad of journeymen probably have the better known players but the WP youngsters have done well so far.
WESTERN PROVINCE to beat Griquas by 8
16:30 – Blue Bulls vs EP Kings: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
With all their Tuks players and Baby Boks and other youngsters who are set to replace the senior players the Bulls are trying to put to pasture the Blue Bulls have a very strong side, too strong for an EP Kings side that has done well to reach the quarters.
BLUE BULLS to beat Eastern Province Kings by 25